Seth drowns in a furious ocean, his body battered by freezing waves and sharp rocks. But as his consciousness gradually returns, he finds himself in a world that’s both foreign and eerily familiar. It appears to be a long-abandoned version of his childhood hometown, the British village full of painful memories that his family left eight years ago to start a new life far away. Strangest of all, this alternate, desolate world seems to respond directly to Seth’s thoughts, putting everything from supplies to companions in front of him just as he needs them.

As Seth and two other mismatched teens band together to avoid a terrifying menace, all three are haunted by frighteningly realistic dreams of their previous lives. Issues of forbidden love, unwavering friendship, complex family dynamics, the difference between childhood and adulthood, violent abuse and teen suicide dovetail as the three survivors gradually figure out where they really are . . . and what they might be able to do about it.

Artsy, creepy and full of psychological suspense, More Than This from Carnegie Medal-winning author Patrick Ness combines the science-fiction/thriller aspects of Robison Wells’ Variant with the surreal, trauma-induced alternate realities of Andrew Smith’s The Marbury Lens. As readers familiar with the Chaos Walking trilogy know, Ness specializes in writing post-apocalyptic worlds where things are rarely as they seem. When the truth—or what might be the truth—is finally revealed, the answers are both fitting and surprising. The dizzying ending brings the characters to the narrow edge between inevitable outcomes and hope for second chances—and challenges readers to form their own conclusions.

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